Houghton West Lodge

Houghton, Norfolk

Overview

One of four lodges that now guard the entrances to Houghton Hall. During the 18th century, policies were decided and governments were formed in the neighbouring splendid palace, but Houghton West Lodge is a much simpler, more modest building built in the 1840s.

  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Double

Sleeps
2
3 nights
£334 equivalent to £55.67 per person, per night

Snug and cosy

A snug lodge house surrounded by woods with a cosy sitting room and warming fireplace. Neither this, nor the similar North and South Lodges, formed part of the architectural and landscape improvements to which our first Prime Minister devoted so much energy and care. These new lodges made no attempt to rival the great Houghton Hall, Sir Robert Walpole’s magnificent seat in North Norfolk.. Consequently, Houghton West Lodge is small and neat, with everything necessary for a modest and contented existence on a great estate. It is sensibly built around a central chimney with a little yard and wash-house at the back and large windows looking out into the surrounding woods.

An opportunity to live for a while at a nobleman’s gate

It stands by a drive that is now only a grassy track, set back from a country road. The last inhabitant left the lodge some years ago and the estate, having no further need of it, leased it to us. This northern part of Norfolk has the character of a peninsula: the bright light, the sense of the sea not far away, the remoteness, the fearless and prolific wildlife. At the same time, the countryside for many miles around bears the stamp of civilised owners over several centuries. The opportunity to live so agreeably for a short while at a nobleman’s gate is not one to be missed.

‘Such a variety of coastal scenery within a short distance, and so many delightful villages to visit.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Houghton West Lodge stands by a grassy track, set back from a country road and surrounded by woods and wildlife.

Within a very short distance of Houghton West Lodge, there is a wealth of historical places of interest. Houghton West Lodge resides on the grounds of Houghton Hall, built by Britain's first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole.  

Just 30 minutes in the car from Houghton is Sandringham Estate, the private home to four generations of British monarchs since 1862.  

Castle Rising Castle is one of the best preserved and lavishly decorated keeps in England, dating back to 1138. 

Visit Bircham Windmill, where on windy days you can see it in full working action. 

The Norfolk parish of Sedgeford is home to the Historical and Archaeological Research project, where you can participate in their ongoing investigation and have a go yourself. 

The Lynn Museum, Holkham Hall and the Swaffham Museum are all within around 15 miles of Houghton West Lodge. You can get 25% off entry at Holkham Hall, and free entry to the Lynn Museum and Swaffham Museum, with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Houghton West Lodge
Houghton, Norfolk
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via an estate track.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    King’s Lynn – 12 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there is a parking space adjacent to the Landmark.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is gas fired central heating and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    No.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a small garden (not enclosed).

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
History

Guarding the approaches to Houghton Hall

The West Lodge is one of four lodges that guard the approaches to Houghton Hall, the splendid rural palace that belonged to Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister. The Walpole family held land here at least from the 13th century and, through inheritance and marriage, greatly extended the size of the Houghton estate until by the beginning of the 18th century it had reached some 16,000 acres. Sir Robert Walpole inherited the estate in 1700, and by this time the old medieval house was in a poor state.

Jonas Wolfe, writing to Sir Robert in 1721 graphically illustrates why a new house was necessary:

'I am writing this in your Honour’s study, where I have a thousand ungrateful Companions, the Mice who doe dayly dispoyle to youre papers, parchments & Bookes …They run in such numbers ‘tis impossible to think of destroying them unless the whole be removed; in the meantime what are yett untouched by them are very unsecure.'

Sir Robert also needed a house to match his political ambitions and to demonstrate his power, wealth and discrimination. Designs were drawn up by Colen Campbell and modified by Thomas Ripley, chief carpenter at the Office of Works. William Kent designed the interiors, which housed a fine collection of paintings. The resultant house was the most sumptuous of its day. Significant improvements were also made to the gardens and grounds. The entrance to the Park was then between a pair of lodges opposite the New Inn. The church, dedicated to St. Martin remained in the park and it is here that Sir Robert and Horace Walpole lie buried.

In fact, the demands of political life and the need to be at the centre of power meant that Sir Robert only spent a month a year at Houghton Hall, but when there he entertained in style. The greater part of the government would go down to Norfolk during the summer and Christmas recesses to spend a week or more 'plotting politics in the interval of hunting, feasting and boozing with the local gentry.' These exclusively masculine gatherings were known as the 'Houghton congresses' and underpinned the web of influence and patronage upon which the Whig party was based.

Yet for all this political power, the male line failed in 1797 and the Houghton estate passed to the Cholmondeley family of Cheshire. They decided to use Houghton as principle residence until their own new house was built. Lord Cholmondeley was evidently fond of the gates at Cholmondeley Hall for he had them transferred to Houghton with a new pair of lodges built to accommodate them. These were described by a surveyor in 1798 as 'the meanest looking Hovels of the kind I ever saw.' The second Marquis Cholmondeley 'much extended the plantations on the estate, and planted …a very fine oak avenue, leading to the West Lodge.' In 1840 building accounts show they had been replaced by those we see today.

Restoration

Ceilings in most of the rooms had collapsed

When the Landmark Trust acquired the West Lodge in 1990 it had not been lived in for many years and the ceilings in most of the rooms had collapsed. The estate had no further need for it and so leased it to Landmark. The West Lodge is small single storey building, a little over 20 feet square, built of brick on a stone plinth. It has a central brick chimney stack serving the sitting room fireplace and the kitchen range. There are only two other rooms, originally both bedrooms. The roof is of Welsh slate.

Small sections of cornice return horizontally to create the impression of a broken pediment to each facade. The sitting room and main bedroom each have an elegant round arched window fitted with sashes. In contrast the kitchen, which faces onto a small yard, has metal casement windows. The front door is framed with a horizontal hood and trellis across the head and down each side. At the other side of the yard is a combined bakehouse and wash house roofed with pantiles rather than slates. A separate door led into the wood/coal shed and backing on to this from the opposite side was the privy.

The first works to be undertaken were structural. The walls of both the lodge and the wash house were in poor condition and leaning inwards. The east wall of the yard was taken down and rebuilt. All four gables had to be rebuilt down to some extent and part of the south wall of the wash-house was taken down and rebuilt. The roofs on both buildings were also replaced - the lodge in slate and the wash-house with pantiles - in both cases reusing any sound originals. The chimney stack also had to be taken down to below roof level and rebuilt with new flue liners fitted. A lean-to woodshed and a 1920’s extension in the courtyard were demolished.

All the windows and doors were repaired wherever possible or replaced with matching ones. The bedroom window, which had been blocked, was reopened and the sashes replaced. Softwood flooring was replaced with the same in the bedroom and tiles laid in the sitting room and kitchen. The tiny fireplace in the bedroom, previously plastered over, was discovered during the works. All the rooms were given new plaster ceilings and all walls were painted in lime paint. A new bathroom was created where the second bedroom had been. The top section of the adjacent estate wall was removed and the coping put back at a lower level. Where the extension met the wall a new window was inserted to light the bathroom, with a casement to match the kitchen windows. The courtyard was laid with brick paviours. 

Mains electricity and a new water supply had to be run from the nearest estate buildings nearly a mile away - a disconcertingly expensive undertaking. A new septic tank was also installed. The lodge walls were re-rendered after a careful analysis of the original lime based render, then lined out to imitate ashlar stone as had originally been the case. They were limewashed in white to match the other estate lodges. The brickwork of the yard and the wash-house had not been rendered originally and so this was just re-limewashed without rendering it. New sections of the estate park railings were made and new timber gates constructed, based on those at the North lodge. Thus the scene was re-set and the western approach to Houghton Hall once more benignly guarded.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.